Friday, November 08, 2013

Signs the Economy is Bad, November 8, 2013

Ah, it's time once again to notice the oh-so-subtle signs that the economy is bad. I know my four readers are busy people, so I scour the Internet (when I get time and/or feel like it) in search of the not-so-noticeable things that tell us that the economy is bad. So, what has been going on?

  • This week's seriously grim news: the economy is bad in Puerto Rico, and I mean seriously fucked up (pardon the language, but we need to tell it like it is).  Colonial status, removal of a popular federal tax breaks many manufacturers used to set up shop in PR, a seriously fucked up and corrupt local government, and a consistent "ay bendito" attitude (a.k.a. "woe is poor me")  mean things are bad and will remain bad for the foreseeable future. In fact, there is a major brain drain going on as the smart people are leaving the island in droves. I can personally tell you, as Puerto Rican myself, I am not going back any time soon. I have managed to make a nice, modest life here where I can make a living. I don't do woe is me. Plus, at this moment, I am working where I can actually make a difference.
  • As we all know (or should know), the Republican Party in the U.S. has been on a rampage to cut back food stamps and other social services. I am betting their new party platform is to decrease the surplus population. Sadly, stuff like this does affect real people, and real people DO suffer (not that they care). The Rude Pundit brings us "In Brief: A Personal Take on Food Stamps." He puts it very well when he writes, "When you are spit out of the middle class by the capitalist monster, it's a short trip to America's garbage heap of the disempowered." This is worth reading.
  • Notoriously "hip" store Abercrombie & Fitch announced things are bad. Sales are plunging at the stores for the beautiful people, and apparently they are closing down some lingerie stores they owned. I am sure it has nothing to do with their CEO's remarks that only cool people should wear his company's clothes. Their recent decision to finally offer some larger sizes I am sure is all a coincidence. It could not happen to a nicer retailer. 
  • Blockbuster video is still open? Apparently DISH Network, who now owns the company, is all but closing down the video rental chain.We had one here in Berea, and it closed down earlier this year. Basically, they got beaten by Netflix. A pity, since not all of us can or are willing to stream our movie rentals. The Redboxes in town seem to be doing ok if the people I see lining up to them on the weekends are an indication. 
  • Collections in churches are going down (I believe we have mentioned this before). Some pastors have even gotten a little bitchy over the fact people are not giving as much. Hey, economy is bad, and let's be honest, ROI from tithing is not that great, so when you have to cut back, tithing and money on the plate have to go. So, how might you entice people to come back to your church? Serving some beer may be a good idea, they think.
  • And in higher education news from my old stomping ground, the state of Indiana, Anderson University (a small private Christian school) is axing programs in theater, French, and philosophy. Yea, who needs that "high fallutin'" elitist stuff anyhow? The usual claims of loss of enrollment were made. Not saying they are not true, but I am sure with a little creativity we can keep exposing students to courses and majors that may encourage things like critical thinking and self-expression. And axing philosophy? Given the serious lacks of ethics in society today, that may be a curriculum they definitely need to keep.
  • Of course, the economy is not bad for everyone. Oprah recently had a "garage/yard sale" to get rid of a few things cluttering up the house. I know when I declutter my house, it's not going to be $600,000 worth of stuff. However, today we are looking at her list of "favorite things." One of them? "$62-a-pound truffle-flavored cheese." Hey, if you need some seriously decadent early ideas for Christmas gifts, and you have money to burn, this may be your list. Now, please excuse me while I go cut some pieces of cheddar bought at the supermarket (supermarket brand, on sale if you go at the right time) to go with my Two-Buck Chuck.
  • And if you need to wash down that fancy, schmancy truffle-flavored cheese, boy, do I have the cocktail for you. You can get this $176 cocktail in some high end hotel in New York City. But hurry, only available during the month of November.

No comments: